This year, the prestigious WAF has been taking place at Singapore’s Marina Bay Sands, a suitably international venue for this annual gathering of architectural notables from across the globe. With a packed programme of talks, book signings and more, ‘crits’ have been happening at a rapid rate across the first two days.

In a return to something like their university days, architects from around the world have been presenting their projects to juries, who then respond with questions. The prizes are split up into numerous categories under the main sub-sections of Completed Buildings and Future Buildings, as well as Inside, a separate set of awards for interiors. Within these sub-sections, prizes cover a range of themes including hotels, culture, offices, masterplanning, infrastructure and housing.

Melbourne Holocaust Museum by Kerstin Thompson Architects, photograph by Derek Swalwell.

As day one of WAF 2023 drew to a close, the initial winners were announced. They included recognition for several Australian and Asia Pacific studios who have featured prominently in the pages of INDESIGN magazine, here on Indesignlive or as part of the INDE.Awards.

Woods Bagot took out top prize in the interiors category for workplace (large) for its M&C Saatchi project, while STH won in the health and fitness category thanks to its work at Murrenda Residential Aged Care Home. Kerstin Thompson Architects, meanwhile, received a commendation for Melbourne Holocaust Museum in the culture section. WJ Studio was also commended for Boatyard Hotel, a distinctive project that featured in INDESIGN magazine’s 90th issue.

Related: STH on healthcare design

Murrenda Residential Aged Care Home by STH, photograph by Chris Matterson.

Other winners included Chen-Yu Chiu and the team of Studio Cho in Turkey for the Reyhanli Centre for World Citizens in Taiwan and PAVA Architects in Thailand for its Kaomai Museums and Tea Barn project, with other notable prizes for MAD Architects, Nextoffice and Studio of Architectural Research & Design.

The judges of this year’s Completed Buildings categories praised the high quality of this year’s projects, emphasising in particular the level of local community enablement and client collaboration.
Judges felt that these exemplar projects sensitively referenced history of sites and retained vernacular cues whilst giving thought for future development. Many winning projects considered the meaning of ‘waste’ through the use of found local materials, innovative recycled construction systems and even the transformation of ‘wasted’ time.

Over the interiors categories, judges noted the attention to detail and deep understanding of project briefs. Each winning studio approached their projects with refined skill and craft, with a particular focus on the use of materials and creating a sense of place.

The second day of WAF continued with more cries, presentations and prize winners. Things got even better for the Australian representatives, with projects from there gaining no less than six category wins as well as some commendations.

In the completed buildings section, Conrad Gargett (now merged with Architectus) and Wardle won the health category prize for Victorian Heart Hospital. In higher education and research, Boola Katitjin by Lyons with Silver Thomas Hanley, Officer Woods, The Fulcrum Agency and Aspect Studios came out on top.

Victorian Heart Hospital by Conrad Gargett (now merged with Architectus) + Wardle, photograph by Peter Bennetts.

In the future projects space, TERROIR was awarded under education for its Resource Recovery Learning Centre in Australia, while Alexandria Health Centre by Warren and Mahoney was the winner in the health category. As for Inside, the interiors festival, SJB was a standout – the practice took out awards for 19 Waterloo Street (residential, single dwelling) and Eucalyptusdom, which was by SJB in collaboration with Richard Leplastrier AO and Vania Contreras (temporary/meanwhile use).

19 Waterloo Street by SJB, photograph by Anson Smart.

Across the Inside category winners, judges highlighted the exemplar qualities of projects for creating ‘magic experiences’ and ‘using local material in a poetic way’. Judges felt that each winning studio had immaculate responses that fulfilled the client’s brief while ensuring consideration of the wider impact on society and the environment.

In terms of completed buildings, the judges emphasised the considered and beautiful articulation of this year’s projects having been particularly impressed with the timeless quality, spatial composition and technical resolutions. Judges felt that many of the winning projects were city-changing with thoughtful responses to historical elements including preservation of found architecture, retrofitting and change of use.

Alexandria Health Centre by Warren and Mahoney.

World Architecture Festival
worldarchitecturefestival.com

Photography
Various

Boola Katitjin by Lyons with Silver Thomas Hanley, Officer Woods, The Fulcrum Agency and Aspect Studios, photograph by John Gollings.
Iron Creek Bay Farm Stay by Misho + Associates, photograph by Peter Whyte.
Eucalyptusdom by SJB in collaboration with Richard Leplastrier AO and Vania Contreras, photograph by Zan Wimberly.

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